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Blue Jackets 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT)

The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Columbus center Ryan Johansen scored his 30th goal of the season on the power play with 2:20 left in overtime as the Blue Jackets secured a crucial two points with a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Columbus (38-30-6), which came into the game with 80 points (tied with Detroit, Toronto and Washington) and in seventh position in the Eastern Conference, was able to capitalize on Carolina's first penalty of the game when left winger Jiri Tlusty was called for closing his hand on the puck after a shot by center Brandon Dubinsky hit the post and Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin was scrambling out of the net.

It took Johansen less than a minute to score the winner from the slot, with his shot trickling off the pads of Khudobin.

Carolina (32-33-9), playing just its second overtime game since Jan. 4, could have pulled within five points of a playoff spot with just eight games left with the win.

After a scoreless first period, twice Carolina took a lead, only to see the one-goal advantage evaporate rather quickly.

Carolina center Andrei Loktionov scored a power-play goal -- his third in the last six games -- early in the third period to give the Hurricanes a short-lived 2-1 lead. Fifty seconds later, Khudobin allowed a rebound and defenseman John Michael Liles was unable to tie up Columbus center Artem Anisimov, who poked home his 20th goal of the season.

Carolina left winger Jeff Skinner was directly involved in the first two goals -- scored within 2:17 of each other late in the second period.

Skinner collected his own rebound from the slot and placed one high on Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney for his team-leading 29th goal of the season and third in as many games.

On his next shift in his own zone, Skinner's pass from the boards to the center of the ice was intercepted by Blue Jackets left winger Matt Calvert, who quickly beat Khudobin. The Carolina goal was coming off his first shutout of the season.

NOTES: Carolina G Anton Khudobin made a career-high 46 saves in the March 18 meeting between the two teams. ... Columbus LW R.J. Umberger, tied for sixth on the team in points at 33, was a healthy scratch for the third time in the last six games. ... Hurricanes C Eric Staal has not scored a power-play goal since Nov. 15 -- a span of 55 games. ... Carolina was shut out in the opening 20 minutes and its 38 first-period goals are the second-lowest total in the NHL, behind only Buffalo's 35. ... Hurricanes LW Jeff Skinner moved within one goal of his second 30-goal years in three full 82-game seasons. ... G Curtis McElhinney started consecutive games in net for Columbus for the first time since road games in early January.
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